Danish 3-D printing firm puts systems on ships to print spare parts
A Danish 3D printing outfit called Create It Real is putting 3D printers onto vessels owned by J Lauritzen and AP Moller Maersk.
The companies, along with DNV GL and Man Diesel and Turbo are part of a new project running under the Danish Green Ship of the Future. The aim is to look at the challenges in the modern spare part supply chain and where shipboard spare parts printing may fit into the picture.
The aim of the project which is funded by the Danish Maritime Fund is to look at the onboard printing process, the possibilities of ensuring the spare parts that are being uses are the latest updated versions, and how the supply chain can thus be improved.
But with the harsh environment and the nature of shipboard machinery the 3D-printed spare parts need to be tested to ensure they meet the same stanbdards of those produced by the original end manufacturer. Therefore the safe transfer of the design files for the 3D printer to use, and any issues relating to deisgn IP rights are also being examined in the project.
One of the key questions being examined is how design files can be shared while still keeping IP rights intact. This is where Create It Real comes into the project. Not only are they supplying the 3D printers and software to vessels, they are also providing training tools. They will also be supplying the required digital files which the company describes as being similar to a music file one can download where one does not access the file, but can listen to the music.
More details about the platform, the printers and the project can be found here.